List of Instrument Makers

Instrument Makers

This page lists kora makers who sell instruments online.

  • Adaptatrap Koras (UK) Based in Brighton in the UK, their instruments have been used by many professional musicians and are supplied to London University’s School of Oriental and African Studies for their kora courses. Resident musician and kora maker, Jali Mbye, originally from The Gambia, offers kora lessons.

  • African Heartwood Project (USA) A US-based non-profit organisation based in Utah, which carries out a number of development and aid projects in West Africa. They import and sell kora, ngonis and bolons.

  • Koras Kaëlig (France) Manufacturer of a number of different types of koras, with a range of customisation options. Their range features instruments constructed with different tuning pegs, bridges, choices of wood including Ash or African Teak, numerous different patterns for the nails on the rear of the gourd. One option is to include “levers” which allow the player to instantly change the pitch of a string by a half-tone, allowing rapid changing between the different tuning systems for the kora. They also sell cases and a foldable stand for the kora and make and sell kamélés n’gonis and bolons. Kaëlig koras are used in concert by many top players.

  • Kora by Cooper (France) Makers of semi-acoustic travel koras (the gourd resonator is not required as each string has a pick-up and the sound is produced by an amplifier. The small size, lower weight and lack of animal products allow the instrument to be transported by airplane (the bridge can also be folded down.) The electronic nature of the kora also allows for “quiet” practice, for example with headphones.

  • Kumbengo Koras (USA) Kumbengo Koras are based in Southern Colorado, at the workshop of drum builder “Renaissance Builders Instruments.” They sell 3 different Kora models (basic, pro and deluxe) and also kamele n’gonis.

  • Music Forest Instruments A maker of traditionally tuned koras and other instruments, Catherine is currently based in Thailand. Her website has a number of interesting videos on kora construction, tuning etc.

  • Pracownia Promyk (Poland) Andrzej Głębocki is a Polish maker of koras and ngonis, in addition to many Southern African instruments (mbiras, kalimbas etc.)

  • Sona Jobarteh (UK, The Gambia) The brilliant UK-based singer and kora player Sona Jobarteh sells koras constructed in Africa (and cases, strings, replacement bridges etc.) and these can be customised with different calabash designs and other extras.

  • The Kora Workshop (UK, France, Senegal) Long established sellers of high quality instruments.

  • Kora Manding Harps (Spain/Catalonia) Barcelona/Girona based kora maker and teacher.

  • Bara Gnouma (France) Importers of musical instruments from Burkina Faso, including koras.

  • Mande Kora (Germany) Kora makers (and musicians) based in Freiburg, Germany.

If you would like to suggest additions or corrections to this list, please use the contact us form at the top of the page.